Monk Nabbed at Greece Airport Trying to Smuggle Dead Nun’s Skeleton

January 19, 2011  [, ]

A monk and two accomplices were busted Sunday trying to board a plane in Athens with the skull and bones of a dead nun in their luggage.

When questioned about why he had a skull and skeletal remains wrapped in cloth in his suitcase, the 42-year-old monk, who is from Cyprus, told police that he was transferring the remains from Greece to a monastery in Cyprus because the nun was a saint.

The Cypriot Orthodox church, though, showed little faith in the monk’s story, saying the attempted smuggling was sacrilegious.

“It appears to be the work of charlatans with a financial interest, that is what I suspect,” Cyprus’ Archbishop Chrysostomos II told Reuters.
The trio, which included a man in his 50s and a woman in her 60s, were charged with theft and desecrating human remains.

The monk was also suspended from his monastery for three months, according to the Cyprus Mail.

The graverobbers allegedly stole the remains of the nun, Eleni Vathiadou, after a memorial service held by her family at a cemetery to mark the four-year anniversary of her death, the Cyprus Mail reported.

Vathiadou had once served as a nun in Cyprus but had been living in Greece when she died.

She was never officially declared a saint by the church.

Read more here.

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